Is CFP Certification Right for You?

Americans are working hard to pull their finances together and plan for the future, and the financial planning profession is growing to address this need. However, only a select group have met the rigorous requirements necessary to call themselves Certified Financial Planner, also known as CFP, professionals.

University of Maryland University College offers a course of study to help prepare you for this unique certification so you can advise individuals on how to address their financial issues and plan for and achieve their financial goals. CFP professionals specialize in everything financial, from budgeting and managing taxes and insurance coverage to planning for retirement and saving for education.

CFP certification communicates your expertise and credibility. A career in financial planning offers great opportunities for employment growth, satisfying work, and high pay. It is a perfect fit for those seeking a rewarding career in finance or a second career after service or retirement from the military or government.

Preparation for CFP Certification

If you want to qualify to sit for the CFP exam, you must fulfill all requirements laid out by the CFP Board. You must have a bachelor’s degree, have worked as a financial planner, and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Take an approved course of study authorized by the CFP Board, such as the six UMUC CFP courses outlined below.
  • Challenge the CFP Board requirements because you already have the requisite experience as a financial planner and therefore only need to complete the capstone course, FINC 490, to sit for the CFP certification exam.

If you are currently a UMUC student, you can take CFP Board–approved courses that meet the criteria needed to fulfill the educational component required to sit for the CFP exam. But you do not have to currently be enrolled at UMUC to take these classes. Our course of study is available to any individual that is interested in earning the CFP certification. Please note that completing CFP courses at UMUC does not guarantee that you will pass the CFP exam.

What You’ll Learn

The CFP Board–approved course of study at UMUC will qualify you for the CFP exam. CFP designation is recognized nationally and internationally as one of the premier certifications in the personal financial planning industry. Through your coursework, you'll learn specialized skills in financial management and planning.

CFP Courses

You are required to take six courses (18 credits total) approved by the CFP Board in preparation for the CFP exam:

  • ACCT 323
  • FINC 321
  • FINC 340
  • FINC 352
  • FINC 355
  • FINC 490

If you are minoring in personal financial planning, you will already have been required to take five of the six required courses (all listed except FINC 340).

Certification Requirements

There are four components outlined by the CFP Board that you must meet to acquire initial certification to become a certified financial planner, known as the four “Es”:

  • Education
  • Examination
  • Experience
  • Ethics

Because the CFP certification requirements may change from time to time, please visit the CFP Board website to review the details of each of the four components.

About the CFP Board

The CFP Board is a nonprofit organization that sets the professional standards in personal financial planning through its setting and enforcement of the education, examination, experience, ethics, and other requirements for CFP certification.

Upcoming Exam Dates

The CFP Board has all you need to know about upcoming exam dates and CFP certification requirements.